William Butler Yeats: Enchantment and Rage with Vicki Mahaffey | Virtual Course

Date / Time

  • January 24, 2023
    7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • February 7, 2023
    7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • February 21, 2023
    7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • March 7, 2023
    7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Sponsored by Lenore H. Steiner and Perry A. Lerner


  • Tuition for this course is $200. 10% off for Rosenbach members and the Delancey Society. Not a member? Learn more.
  • This course is limited to participants who are 18 years of age or older.
  • Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation. If you have questions, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].
  • Registration opens for Delancey Society members on November 14, for members on November 21, and for the general public on November 28.


Course Description

In a disenchanted age, it is important to consider the unexpectedly ethical potential of enchanted moments. In this course, we will look at enchantment as a moment of wonder that can trigger ethical responses; as a musical metaphor (enchantment comes from the French “chanter,” to sing); and as a figure for national paralysis or colonization in Ireland. We will trace how magic gives way to violence as the main impetus behind Yeats’s poems, ending with his magnificent rage against old age. Each class will begin with relevant background material followed by a detailed examination of 5-10 poems. 

Yeats syllabus

About the Instructor

Vicki Mahaffey is the author of three books, all of which have something to do with Joyce, as well as two edited collections and fifty articles. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University and taught at the University of Pennsylvania for almost thirty years. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the International James Joyce Foundation (currently serving her third term). While at Penn, she taught courses at the Rosenbach and was involved in the planning of the annual Bloomsday celebrations (she is proudest of introducing musical performances, although she was also part of the team that chose the readings). She is currently the Kirkpatrick Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois. 

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